As many reasons as there might be for a Guatemalan to come abroad to Taiwan for study, I think the most fundamental is to learn from what Taiwanese are doing right in order to better judge the Latin American current situation and find the ways in which its weaknesses can be improved. This, of course, is not an easy task since both countries have completely different and unique historic background, which lead them to have completely different demographic and cultural characteristics.

The most obvious characteristic that denote an enormous difference is the fact that Taiwan has only about a third of Guatemala’s size in terms of area, but it doubles its population and is highly concentrated on its West coast. This is important to note when we talk about its transportation system because the reasons why it has grown to being really comfortable and convenient is because there is always people that want to travel and they are able to pay a relatively high price for the ticket. By relatively high I mean that in Guatemala a few people will be willing to pay the approximately NT$399 (US$14.00) for a bus trip or the NT$1300 (US$44.00) for a High Speed Train to travel across the country compared to the actual price of approximately Q60.00 (US$7.50) for the already considered luxury bus trip. This is to say that although it is quite admirable the fact that about every twenty to thirty minutes there is a bus departing at a bus station in Taiwan that can take you almost everywhere on the east coast twenty four hours a day, not only Guatemalans would consider it a really expensive service, but the demand of a much smaller population will not reach the offer of that many passenger seats per day. The same thing will apply to all of the other Taiwanese transportation systems.

On the other hand, services that can be improved by the use of new energy saving technologies can improve the life of Guatemalans such as the solar system water heaters and solar energy panels. This is because the major water heaters today are either gas-based or electricity-based heaters. For the people who live in high altitude or mountainous terrain cities only a gas water heater is strong enough, but for those who live on a lower altitude an electric heater is all they need. The problem with that is that water heaters are the appliance who consume the most electricity so a solar powered driven one will be a better alternative when programmed to release such energy only at the times when the family needs it the most.

Following the same line of the use of new technologies to solve problems, comes the issue of producing such new technologies from the phase of research and development. In Taiwan it is highly funded and supported by governmental agencies. Not only universities here have a vast spectrum of curricula for attaining a Master’s degree but the government itself organizes activities that promote the development of new solutions to daily problems such as competitions where first places get recognition and a monetary reward for their efforts. The lack of such support for young researchers and genius minds is one of the reasons why they leave the country in the look for better opportunities elsewhere. If a similar system were to be implemented in Guatemala and it’s means of mass production for the final products were to be improved as high as the Taiwanese current capacity, then those great minds who cannot afford to spend their time working on their ideas would be already improving the country from its very foundations.

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